The race for New York’s 19th congressional district is starting to heat up. Seven Democratic candidates have made the primary ballot set to take place on June 26, in which the winner of the primary will run against incumbent representative John Faso, R-Kinderhook, in this November’s midterm elections.
The seven Democratic candidates include: Antonio Delgado of Rhinebeck, Brian Flynn of Elka Park, Pat Ryan of Gardiner, Erin Collier of Cooperstown, Jeff Beals of Woodstock, Dave Clegg of Woodstock and Gareth Rhodes of Kerhonkson. All seven candidates gained the minimum 1,250 signatures that are required to be on the Democratic party ballot by the April 12 deadline. Delgado collected the most signatures out of the candidates with 6,000.
Delgado was followed by Ryan who collected 3,840 signatures. Delgado also leads in campaign fundraising among the Democratic candidates, having raised $1.9 million according to Hudson Valley One.
Delgado is not underestimating what it means to him to be on a primary ballot for the United States Congress.
“This means everything. It shows that hard work pays off. I’ve been working toward this every day for over a year, showing up in every part of the Hudson Valley and the Catskills to build grassroots support and inspire people to get involved in our campaign,” Delgado said. “Our organizers and volunteers were able to gather nearly 6,000 signatures from all 11 counties of this District and 100 towns. We knocked on over 30,000 doors to get this done.”
With being a lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, it is special for Rhodes to make the primary ballot in District 19.
“It is an honor and very humbling to see your name on the ballot for the community that you’ve grown up in,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes has taken a different approach to his campaign. He has made a pledge to visit all 163 towns located within district 19 by the June 26 primary.
“I’m visiting each town in a 1999 Winnebago. I have 41 towns left to visit since I’ve visited 122 towns so far,” Rhodes said.
There are different reasons why some of these candidates decided to run in this district. For Rhodes, it was something that the incumbent Faso did.
“I decided to run around this time a year ago after John Faso voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act which was going to take away health care from thousands of New Yorkers,” Rhodes said.
As for Dave Clegg, he decided to run after how shocked he was with the election of President Donald Trump in Nov. 2016. Other candidates expressed why they should be the Democratic nominee with most of it having to do with the actions of current Rep. Faso and Pres Trump.
“My entire life I was taught to work twice as hard as everyone else, and that’s exactly how I’ve approached this campaign,” Delgado said. “We’ve been able to build a top-notch organization that is showing up all over this region and getting things done. That’s exactly the approach I will take to the halls of Congress. We have also demonstrated an ability to inspire and motivate grassroots support -and that’s what it will take to beat John Faso in November. In order to win, we need to turn voters out. I believe I am the best equipped to do that.”
Ryan mentioned his military service as a reason for why he should be the District 19 representative.
“We need a leader who can stand up for our community and lead the fight to take back our country from the destructive policies of Donald Trump. I’m ready and able to take on that fight,” Ryan said. “I served two combat missions in Iraq and left with the rank of Captain. I will put my service against Donald Trump any day and I know that I am the best person to go to Washington to lead the way in taking back our country.”
Rhodes cited his experience working in state government as part of the reason why he should be the Democratic nominee.
“I worked for the Cuomo administration from 2011-15 in the communications department as I’m the only candidate to have worked in government,” he said. “It’s time for a new generation of leaders and I believe I am a part of the new generation.”
All seven of the Democratic candidates are scheduled to be at SUNY New Paltz on Sunday, May 6 for a “Women Centered Forum,” hosted by the activist group Resisterhood taking place in Lecture Center 100.